I love discovering interesting places. I had heard about the Speedway 105 Cafe (it has been open for 6 months), but had never been there. In fact, I had never even seen it even though I have driven along that street several times. When I finally went, I realised why I had never seen it: Speedway Cafe is not in Cape Town, it’s in its own twilight zone. If you drive up and down Hope Street, you won’t see it. You need to be looking for it. When you spot the sign for Roodehek Terrace you turn in, and that’s when you enter the twilight zone.
In front of you, set against the night sky (if you go at night), is a banner of blue lights arching over the driveway into the parking area. As you drive into the parking area, you see a wall of fairy lights and as you turn around at the bottom of the parking, you see several illuminated palm trees which create an unexpected oasis in the middle of a concrete jungle.
The Speedway Cafe is a small, long venue. One side is home to the bar and the other offers some tables and benches for diners. Eating at Speedway Cafe is not stress free. The food ranges from average to very good. Two friends who had the steak (R95) was the best they had had (admittedly, they were from overseas). I had the steak with pepper sauce and it was good, not amazing. I tried the calamari starter (R49), which was fine, the burger (R48) looked good and the lamb chops (78) were also fine. If I was looking for a dinner spot, I don’t think Speedway Cafe would be on my list of options, but if I was going to Speedway anyway and I needed to eat, I’d be very happy to eat at there.
If you’re looking for a vibey bar that isn’t your run of the mill place, then Speedway is your place. The place is very casual with wooden tables and benches and a long wooden bar. The walls are decorated with motoring memorabilia, a tribute to their niche. While it is well supported by ‘petrol heads’, from the Ferrari Club to the Harley Club, it has a very diverse patronage. Nobody would feel out of place unless they wanted to.
On the two occasions I have been to Speedway Cafe, there was a band playing, called Them Tornadoes. This made my experience even better as I discovered another great Cape Town band. Do yourself and follow that link to their MySpace page and listen to some of their tracks. If you had asked me what ‘rockabilly‘ was, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you but now I know and I love it. It really gets the crowd going. Do yourself a favour and go see these guys in action. They play at Speedway Cafe often but do play at other venues too.
Speedway 105 Cafe
Roodehek Terrace, off Hope Street, Gardens
Tel: +27 84 577 2418